Six in 10 Britons admit they are “rubbish” at staying in touch with friends and family – taking days, weeks or even months to return calls and messages, a survey suggested.
The poll of 2,000 adults found a quarter said they never know what to say, while 19 per cent struggle to find the time.
For some, keeping on top of missed calls and messages is “overwhelming”.
However, the good news is some believe they’ve become better at staying in touch with others during lockdown.
Around a quarter said they have made new friends as a direct result of the pandemic – getting to know people they might not have corresponded with otherwise.
And as a result of more adults working from home, others are now friendlier with their neighbours.
The poll was commissioned by mobile phone network giffgaff as part of its “Have A Proper Chat” campaign.
The initiative is urging Britons to have a meaningful conversation between 7pm and 8pm from 10 to 14 May - by calling loved ones they’ve not seen in person since restrictions were introduced.
Ash Schofield, giffgaff CEO, said: “We’ve never had so many different ways of communicating with one another – but this can be a bit of a double-edged sword.
“As the study suggests, many adults are struggling to stay on top of their messages and missed calls as we know busier lives can leave less time for those proper chats.
“However having a routine can help, which is why we’re calling on the nation to make the effort to take time out for a proper chat with people they can’t yet see in real life.”
Jo Hemmings, behavioural and media psychologist, said: “It’s easy to slip back into our old habits, post lockdown.
“Unless we resolve to keep up the good ones, perhaps ensuring that we make regular – even scheduled – audio or video chats with those people that have appreciated and cherished that communication as much as you have.
“As the world opens up, we’ll have more to share with our friends and family, and psychology shows that chatting to people who we care about on a regular basis is beneficial to both our wellbeing and our sense of genuine and authentic connection.”
The poll also found that those aged 25 to 34 were best at keeping in touch during lockdown – with those aged 55 to 64 the worst offenders, while those living in North East England came top regionally.
Despite lockdown easing, the poll carried out through OnePoll found 62 per cent of adults have still been unable to meet friends in real life.”